By Jacquie Winiecki
When it comes to in-home services, how do you remind your customers of an upcoming appointment? If you aren’t using SMS client reminders, it’s time to consider them! On average, people check their phones a whopping 344 times per day. That is approximately once every four minutes! In addition, text messages have a very high open rate and have become a very common way for home service businesses to send out confirmations of upcoming appointments. Text messages are simple and inexpensive to send, less intrusive than a phone call, and allow the receiver of the message to respond when it is convenient for them.
The initial appointment confirmation is typically sent immediately after the appointment has been scheduled. But, what if the appointment is days, weeks, or even a month or more out? Should you send an SMS appointment reminder, and if so, when?
No-shows have a negative impact on appointment-based businesses so reducing them should be a priority. According to schedulecity, small businesses that use SMS appointment reminders can reduce their no-show rate by as much as 40%. While text messaging is an accepted and common way to send reminders, a sure-fire way to upset a customer is to send a text at the wrong time. No one wants to receive a text message at 3:00 a.m. reminding them of their dryer repair service appointment.
The general rule of thumb for sending SMS reminders is to send them anywhere from 24-72 hours in advance. Doing this will allow your customers time to free up their schedule or reschedule their appointment if the time no longer works for them. Sending the SMS too early can result in the customer forgetting their appointment. A same-day appointment reminder may make the customer feel rushed, resulting in canceling the appointment and potentially not rescheduling. Then you are left with an unhappy customer and open time slot that will be difficult to fill at the last minute.
Now that we’ve covered how far in advance you should send your reminder, let’s go over some times that should be avoided. As discussed earlier, certain times should be obvious to avoid, however, other times have been proven to not be effective as well.
Try to avoid sending text reminders for appointments during times that most people are commuting to or from work. According to messente, standard rush hour times are weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. local time. Another time to avoid is the weekend. Rush hour and weekends tend to be busy for many people and sending reminders during these times is not advised. For a customer who has an appointment first thing on Monday, sending a reminder on the Friday before would be considered adequate and within the 24-72 hour rule of thumb timeframe.
It is also important to be mindful of holidays. Typically, holidays are spent with family and friends. Sending an SMS reminder on a major holiday would look unprofessional and a customer may find the reminder intrusive.
Ready for success with SMS?